I rent cars quite a bit in my business travels, and for several years I have my preferred vendor has been National. For the most part, I’ve been happy with National, and had earned Executive status for several years. Starting in 2015, my company preferred vendors no longer included National, so I’ve reluctantly been using Hertz. While Hertz is larger, and usually better located than other vendors in most airports, I’ve found I really miss using National.
Thanks to a match from United, I now have Hertz President’s Circle status, which is supposed to be second from the top tier of their program, just below Platinum status. Matthew has discussed the details of the new partnership between United Airlines and Hertz. I was hoping this would help make the experience more enjoyable, and maybe it has, but not significantly.
Many of my rentals of late have been at LAX airport, which have very large rental facilities. When using National, there seemed to be very few shuttle buses, so I had many long waits to get to the rental car center. It was frustrating to watch multiple buses from other companies go by, while I waited for one from National. Once the shuttle arrived, the experience was just fine. There were always a lot of cars available in the Emerald and Executive aisles. Usually the cars were low mileage, and sometimes had nice features like satellite radio. I usually had many options beyond just between a silver and a white Chevy Malibu. I really like the “choose any car you like from the aisle” model that National uses, and wish Hertz would do something comparable.
Look at all of the Hertz Gold Choice options at LAX.
With Hertz at LAX, there seem to always be frequent shuttles, but I really don’t like the car selection. I have been spoiled by my years with National, where they are countless cars to choose from. I have tried to use the Gold Choice area, which is Hertz’s answer to Nationals Aisles, but as you can see in the photo above, it’s not always a good option. There are only maybe 8 spaces, and often there is little there that interests me. In my last 3 rentals since I have had President’s Circle status, which guarantees a one class upgrade, I think the ‘best’ car I’ve had was a crossover SUV, but I’m usually assigned a Toyota Camry. I don’t consider that much of an upgrade, but its a perfectly fine car, I suppose. And it is technically an upgrade from the midsize that I booked, at least in their classifications.
Another benefit of the program that has been delivered poorly in my experience is having cars in “designated parking stalls”. There are lots of President’s Circle marked stalls in LAX, but the only designated parking positions I’ve had during rentals are about as far away from the bus stop as possible. At least the walk is usually pleasant with the nice Los Angeles weather…
Another annoyance that I’ve noticed with Hertz is there is a short grace period for reservations. My flights are often delayed, and despite my flight information being in the Hertz reservation, I often have to get a new car assigned if my flight is past schedule. Again National wins here, by simply allowing renters to choose any car and drive to the exit gates.
Even the promotion that yielded my upgrade to the President’s Circle status was a problem. It took much longer than promised for the match to post, but I suppose that can be blamed on United as much as Hertz. More information an experiences with the United/Hertz partnership can be seen in a FlyerTalk thread here.
Due to my business travels, I’m pretty much stuck with Hertz, but I’m not really enjoying the experience, and I definitely miss the simplicity of National.
What is your preferred rental car company? Have you had better experiences with Hertz than me?